Stevie Wonder Shines, But ‘House Full of Toys’ Falls Short Again At Staples Center [Photos]

first_imgPhoto: Brandon Weil Load remaining images There are a few things you can count on when attending Stevie Wonder’s semi-annual House Full of Toys Christmas benefit concert.A great cause (or, this year, causes, with proceeds going to victims of Southern California’s recent wildfires). Lots of holiday cheer. Plenty of talented guests. And, of course, the sheer awe inspired by Stevie, who’s arguably the greatest living singer-songwriter-musician—if not the Greatest Of All Time.But like LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers so far, Stevie’s shows at Staples Center have left something to be desired—or left plenty of room for growth, depending on your perspective.This was the second edition of the concert since it took up residence inside the centerpiece of LA Live. Last year’s show was plagued by technical mishaps and delays, with performances dragging past midnight.This year’s entry featured much of the same. The main show didn’t begin until over a half hour past the scheduled start time. Delays between acts forced comedian Chris Spencer and Aisha Morris, Stevie’s daughter, to stall with stories and jokes.Staples Center’s less-than-ideal acoustics aside, the sound took a hit from miscues with the mics. While attempting to sing a duet with her dad on “Little Drummer Boy,” Aisha Morris, one of Stevie’s daughters, fell silent in front of a malfunctioning microphone.Issues like these are practically canon for Stevie, to the degree that he and Aisha cracked wise about time. And to some extent, they are to be expected of an ensemble show that, this year, included the likes of Anderson .Paak, Leon Bridges, Lukas Nelson, Chante Moore, Ro James, PJ Morton, Ella Mai, Daley and Ari Lennox. Shuffling artists onto and off of the stage—with all those changes in equipment—is bound to take time and cross wires.But there’s a certain disappointment that attends seeing those issues come at the expense of great talent, Stevie’s included. As sensational as it was to hear Stevie serenade the crowd with classics like “That’s What Christmas Means to Me,” “Winter Wonderland” (with Morton) “My Cherie Amour” (with Moore), “You and I” (with Daley), “Overjoyed,” “Superstition,” “As” and “Another Star,” it was tough to shake the interminable waits and awkward introductions. Surely, Nelson, who captivated the audience with his song “Find Yourself” and co-wrote a slew of tunes in Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born,” deserved more credit than being brought on as Willie Nelson’s son. Ditto for Bridges, who sang his beautiful ballad “River” after being billed by Aisha as recognizable for the songs he’s put in commercials—rather than, say, for his Grammy nominations.Add to those Stevie’s announcement of a long list of corporate sponsors at the top of the show and the so-so spot for a boy band called 4th Ave, and the pile of faux pas became too much to ignore.Between Stevie’s generational gifts, the star power of his guests and the charitable efforts toward which proceeds from House Full of Toys contribute, Staples Center should be packed to the rafters with holiday revelers. Instead, there was room to roam throughout the building and plenty of cheap tickets available online. Given the reputation the show has for its problems—and the level at which it lived up to said reputation this year—it’s easy to see why that was the case and tough to blame folks for staying home.last_img read more

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TechnipFMC posts smaller third quarter profit

first_imgOil and gas services company TechnipFMC has recorded a smaller profit and revenues for the third quarter 2017 compared to the prior-year period but the company is optimistic about the recovery in the subsea market. TechnipFMC’s net income for the third quarter 2017 was $121 million, a 63% decrease when compared to net income of $327 million in the third quarter 2016, according to its financial report on Wednesday.The merger between between Technip and FMC Technologies was completed in January 2017 and it is worth mentioning that all prior year quarter comparisons are to pro forma results for 2016 as if the merger had been completed on January 1, 2016.Total company revenue of $4.1 billion was down 17.8 percent from the same quarter in the prior year and revenues of $5.03 billion.Looking at the company’s business segments, the Subsea segment brought $1.5 billion in revenues, Onshore/Offshore brought $2.3 billion, and Surface Technologies segment contributed $354 million.Subsea revenues were down 37 percent from the prior year, primarily due to a reduction in project activity within Europe and Africa.Onshore/Offshore revenues declined 3.8 percent from the prior-year quarter due to the completion of several projects since the prior-year period, partially offset by increased activity in the Middle East region.Surface Technologies revenues increased 19.9 percent from the prior year quarter as a result of the robust increase in North American well completion activity, while international markets remained stable across our products and services portfolio.Doug Pferdehirt, CEO of TechnipFMC, stated: “Total inbound orders for the quarter were $2.5 billion, with Subsea at nearly $1 billion – reinforcing our conviction in the steady recovery of the subsea market. We believe that most major subsea projects can move forward at today’s oil prices, with delays in project sanctioning more a function of near-term price uncertainty than project returns.”Pferdehirt also expects the company’s 2018 Subsea inbound to exceed 2017 levels, driven by the current momentum in project bid activity and an acceleration of integrated project awards.Pferdehirt concluded, “As we look to 2018, we are managing revenue declines against the strategic investments needed to sustain our operational capabilities through the recovery. We see significant opportunities ahead, and these will be driven by internal initiatives as well as market fundamentals.”Offshore Energy Today Stafflast_img read more

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Ferguson future announcement expected

first_imgSir Alex Ferguson has arrived at Manchester United’s Carrington training complex amid massive speculation an announcement will be made about his future. Press Association United did not respond to any requests for information about Ferguson’s position on Tuesday night. However, for a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, it is impossible to imagine reports that such a senior figure is considering whether to end his long association with the Red Devils can go unchecked. The announcement could come as early as Wednesday morning, although there was no hint of anything different from Ferguson as he swept into Carrington, on the outskirts of Manchester, just before 7am. center_img Ferguson confirmed on Friday that he would attend Chester Races on Wednesday along with his playing squad, which follows on from their golf day on a course quite close to United’s plush training ground. The present silence from United has allowed Ferguson’s status to be questioned in a manner never previously witnessed. Only last weekend, in his programme notes for Sunday’s Premier League defeat by Chelsea, Ferguson insisted he was intent on carrying on indefinitely. Basking in the triumph of his 13th Premier League title, he said: “This team of champions is not going away – we are here for the long ride. We will get better and if we apply ourselves in our normal fashion I see our 20th league title as nothing but the start of another decade of success. “Whether I will be here to oversee another decade of success remains to be seen, but I certainly don’t have any plans at the moment to walk away from what I believe will be something special and worth being around to see.” However, chatter over his future dates back 12 months to the nosebleeds he suffered at a dinner in his native Scotland, which caused him to be taken to hospital. Although Ferguson himself insisted there was no problem, having been told he had taken too many short flights by the United team doctor, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan pointedly claimed this season would be the Scot’s last. Ferguson subsequently failed to travel to pre-season matches in Sweden and Germany and also sat out a mid-winter training camp in Qatar. Then, last week, United privately confirmed Ferguson had been booked in for hip surgery in August, after the club’s pre-season tour, which involves trips to Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. It seemed strange timing given the former Aberdeen manager could have had whatever procedure he requires immediately. Repeatedly over the last few years, Ferguson has said his health would be the key to his own longevity. On Monday night, there was a massive gamble on David Moyes to join United in the summer, with further speculation that he would leave Everton to become Ferguson’s assistant. last_img read more

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Liverpool omit Shaqiri for Champions League trip over political tensions

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Xherdan Shaqiri has been left out of Liverpool’s travelling squad for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade, the Premier League club have announced.The midfielder was at the centre of controversy along with Switzerland teammate Granit Xhaka when they celebrated goals with a pro-Kosovo “double eagle” gesture that represents the Albanian flag during the World Cup win over Serbia in Russia.The double-eagle is viewed as a symbol of defiance in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008 in a move that Serbia still refuses to recognise.The players’ double eagle celebration caused outrage in Serbia and Arsenal midfielder Xhaka and Shaqiri, both of Kosovan-Albanian descent, were fined by FIFA.Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said on the club’s website on Monday: “It’s a situation where we will go to the fantastic city of Belgrade as a football team to play football.“We have heard and read the speculation and talk about what kind of reception Shaq would receive and although we have no idea what would happen, we want to go there and be focused 100 per cent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all.”Klopp added: “We are Liverpool FC, a big club, a football team but we don’t have any message further than that. We have no political message, absolutely not. We want the focus to be on a great game of football, free from anything else. Share on: WhatsApp “We are keen to be respectful and keen to avoid any distractions that would take focus away from a 90-minute-plus contest that is important for football and only football. So for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this.”Shaqiri started Liverpool’s 4-0 home win over Red Star on October 24.Liverpool top Champions League Group C with six points, one ahead of Napoli and two clear of Paris Saint-Germain, with Red Star at the bottom.last_img read more

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